Thursday, September 29, 2022

1619 Fest: Live music, walking tour and more aim to highlight role of first Africans

A drone shot of the Angela site. (Courtesy Preservation Virginia)
A drone shot of the Angela site. (Courtesy Preservation Virginia)

There are a lot of “firsts” to commemorate in 2019.

This year, Virginia celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World, when Democratic government came to the West.

But this is also a time to commemorate more somber anniversaries: In 1619, African captives arrived in Virginia, introducing the English use of slave labor to America.

While there are several sobering exhibits dedicated to the first Africans, the Historic Triangle is paying tribute in another, lighthearted and educational way with 1619 Fest.

The idea behind the event is to acknowledge people of African descent in America’s origin narrative, as well as “reverse the propaganda of disassociating African Americans from Africa,” according to the 1619 Fest website.

The 1619 Fest will light up the Jamestown Marina at Billsburg Brewery on Aug. 17 with live music from artists including Akae Beka, Mighty Joshua and Cultivated Minds.

The events aren’t limited to the evening, however.

The day will begin with a “First Africans Walking Tour” at 9 a.m. The tour will go to Jamestown Island and visit the Angela site, where archaeologists are working to find traces of Angela, the only one of the first Africans whose name was preserved in history.

After the walking tour, there will be several “pop up” events such as a vendor fair, live music, face painting, yoga, boat tours, panel discussions and a performance called Sounds of Freedom.

The Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble will play at 3:30 p.m.

From there, Cultivated Mind, Mighty Joshua and Akae Beka will play at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively.

Tickets are on sale for $30 apiece.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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